Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

The Avifauna of the Kerguelen Islands

H Weimerskirch, R Zotier and P Jouventin

Emu 89(1) 15 - 29
Published: 1989


The status of the 35 bird species breeding on the Kerguelen Islands in the south-western Indian Ocean is reviewed in view of recent discoveries and censuses made between 1984 and 1987. Aspects of the breeding biology of most of the species are described, together with weights and measures for 17 species for which data were previously scarce or unavailable. Four new breeding species have been recently discovered on the archipelago: the Yellow-nosed Albatross, the Southern Giant Petrel, the Soft-plumaged Petrel and the Fairy Prion. The population sizes of King and Macaroni Penguins and albatrosses were monitored: the first two species increased in number during the last 20 years, while Wandering and Black-browed Albatrosses decreased. The status of the three prion species is reviewed and the study validates the previously debated specific status of Kerguelen Antarctic and Thin-billed Prions. The taxonomic status of several Kerguelen seabird populations is discussed. Most of the burrowing petrels breeding on the mainland are today threatened by predation from recently introduced feral Cats and by degradation of their habitat caused by introduced Rabbits and other herbivorous mammals. The presence of 300 islands and islets around the mainland, mostly yet unmodified, will ensure the safety of much of the Kerguelen avifauna if they are protected now from further interference.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 1989

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